TEL AVIV *Agencies*: Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denied reports that he is prepared to step down from his position in return for a normalization deal with Saudi Arabia and the relief of his criminal trials.

According to the Haredi newspaper HaModia yesterday, Netanyahu had acknowledged that his “political career is nearing an end”, and that he “does not have the capacity to manage the country in Israel’s current political state.” He was reportedly committed to making “any deal with the Saudis possible, even at the price of toppling his own government,” and was prepared to work with American officials to settle the long-awaited normalization deal. He apparently agreed to a plea bargain for relief in his own criminal trials in return for his resignation.

The Israeli prime minister denied that report yesterday, however, with his Likud faction saying in a statement that it was a “farfetched fabrication.” It assured that “There was never any commitment or request made to change the current make-up of the government [in relation to the normalisation efforts],” and stressed that Netanyahu’s government “will fulfil its tenure regardless of the prime minister’s attempts to widen Israel’s circle of peace.”

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